#rhizo15 W5: Is community learning an invasive species?

DAVE says: Rhizomatic plants are chaotic, aggressive and resilient. They model some of the qualities that can make a good learner. The rhizome, however, can also be an invasive species. It can choke other plants out of your garden such that only the rhizomatic plant remains. We’ve just heard from Aras that “the number of active participants [on twitter] are decreasing while density (interaction in the rhizo community) is increasing”. How do we make sure there is always room for new and contrarian voices? Do we need to create a them to have a we? How do we cultivate a community learning ecosystem so that it continues to grow outward rather than inward? What does that mean for learning? Must rhizomatic learning be an invasive species?

 

Your challenge
This week take a critical look at the rhizomatic approach. Are we just replacing one authority structure with another? Trading tradition for community? What does this mean in our classroom? How can this get us into trouble? What are the ethical implications of creating a ‘community’ for learning? Community as conformity?

Catch the really short video here: http://rhizomatic.net/2015/05/12/week-5-is-community-learning-an-invasive-species/

Values

I’m sometimes asked what makes a good learning developer – is it a bunch of strategies, some great pedagogy, excellent resources, cool curriculum options… something else altogether? And I hark back to the people who have most influenced my own teaching…

Mr McCarthy

For my last two years of primary school I finally encountered a teacher who I thought liked me, Mr McCarthy. I think he liked us all – but in my solipsistic universe the thing that was important was that at last I felt that someone in this harsh and judgemental universe actually liked me – they thought that I was okay. From that space Mr McCarthy could do no wrong… But he also did a lot right – and especially beautiful were the times he sent me out (aged about 10 or 11) to buy him his twenty Players untipped from the kiosk down the road – and Wednesday afternoons when he would read to us. We would sit at our desks, perhaps put our heads on our arms and relax, and he would read, The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, HG Wells is who I mainly remember, and we would be transported and challenged and held all at the same time.

Holt and Rogers

After MrMcCarthy I did not really encounter any more kind or warm teachers at school at all…but when I got to study Education (with Literature) at Poly for my first degree I found lecturers (unchained by AWAM and Performance Indicators and Targets) who also took us to art galleries and to magistrates courts and invited us to lunch and took bunches of us away for the weekend – and, we also talked in the canteen and on the bus and round each others’ flats and put the world to rights and discovered John Holt – who thought that formal education could do nothing but enslave – and Carl Rogers who said it’s all about Unconditional Positive Regard, Congruence and Empathy! And I thought – YES – that was what it was about!

So – love your students – all of them – and allow the flows and currents – trying if you can to make sure none of them fall out or fall too far – but don’t strangle them or swaddle or limit… and sometimes you will fail and they will get hurt – but that was not your intention – and that makes a difference!!

And that’s very stream of consciousness – and if you’d like something a little deeper – do read Keith’s brilliant post: http://idst-2215.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/ethics-for-moocs-power-in-rhizo-moocs.html

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